The Move North

The problem with being weekenders is access. When we lived in Norfolk, Red Ranger was in Deltaville, just an hour and change away. It was a relaxing drive after work every week. When we moved to Richmond, Red Ranger was back in Deltaville, about two hours away. 

Now that we’re in McLean, Red Ranger is over three hours away. We really need to move her north. We’ve got a slip picked out at Herrington Harbor North.

Tentatively, we’ve looking at April 29 to May 2 or 3 as the time to move Red Ranger north. CA has packed the time tightly, which creates the complication of a deadline later in the week.

The sailing part is pretty straightforward. Moving the cars is devilishly complex.

High tide is between 5AM and 6AM, meaning we’ll be departing on a high, but falling tide. This is less than ideal. 

Sunrise is 6:12 AM. Marine twilight is almost a full hour before this at the marina’s latitude and date. If we’re up at 04:00 and have the engines on at 05:00, we’ll make it out at high tide with minimal danger of running aground in the channel.

The distance to our favorite anchorage in Mill Creek near Solomon’s Island is about 52 nm. At 5 kt, that’s 10.4 hours; at 6 kt, that’s 8.6 hours. Current, wind (and barnacle growth) will determine how well we do. We have a ton of daylight, so dropping to 5 kt doesn’t hurt our ability to anchor safely too much.

Looking at statistical data on WindFinder, it looks like 10 kt winds are about the maximum (outside a storm). The directions are (often) SSE and SE. Sadly, NW and NE are equally likely. As long as we’re not plowing into a NE breeze, things shouldn’t be too bad.

The distance to Herrington Harbor N is a total of 95 nm. At 4 kt that’s 23 hours. One long day — if we keep the speed down. This is a question of weather. If the winds are light and the seas are flat, it’s pleasant to do this as one long, slow motor and arrive at dawn the next day.

What about the cars? We only own one car, so that’s a problem.

We need to leave one car at Herrington Harbor North. We need to drive a second car to Deltaville, VA.

After moving Red Ranger, we have to collect the car we left in Deltaville.

We think we can rope Linh (and her niece) into the following hyper-complex plan.

  1. Linh (and Kimberly) drive from Norfolk to Herrington Harbor on Friday. This is about four hours of driving. They can take the scenic route up the Eastern Shore. Or go via Richmond. 
  2. We rendezvous at the marina, leaving our car, Squire, there. We pile into Linh’s car and drive down to Deltaville. This is three more hours of driving for Linh. A full day of car moving.
  3. If the weather’s fair, we leave at dawn. Otherwise, we hang around and clean the boat for a day (or two). Maybe see some local sights like Kilmarnock while we wait for the weather to clear. CA will be very fretful because she has a deadline.
  4. One or two days of sailing. Or motoring. Or motor-sailing.
  5. When we arrive at Herrington, we have a choice. If we’ve overnighted, we can drive the three hours back to Deltaville right away. If we took two days, it will be late and we might not want to start the driving until the next morning. Linh and Kimberly will be just two hours from Norfolk. CA and I have a three hour drive back to McLean.

At each end, there’s — essentially — a full day of car moving that’s difficult to avoid.

  © Steven Lott 2020